John de Lancie forever left an indelible mark on Star Trek when he appeared in the pilot episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation as the omnipotent trickster god-being Q. Fans have wondered if the character would ever show up again in the Star Trek franchise proper. Well, that just happened and it was pretty great.
Star Trek: Lower Decks had John de Lancie guest star as none other than Q himself. Thanks to the powers of animation, Q’s godlike manipulation of reality got to take on a level of ridiculousness that we have never seen before. Q transported the bridge crew of the USS Cerritos to a dimensional plane that combined a variety of different types of games. There was a chessboard with sentient playing cards and soccer balls. It was a whole goofy thing that was absolutely delightful.
But, more importantly, John de Lancie showed up as Q again at the very end of the episode. The Lower Decks characters waved Q off and told them to go bug Picard. Q seemed dejected, saying that all Picard does is quote Shakespeare and make wine. While this does act as little more than cute referential gag, it also sets the stage for Q to return on Star Trek: Lower Decks.
And getting John de Lancie to show up on Star Trek: Lower Decks in a significant role would be a dream come true. Q has always been a fan-favorite character and his final appearance on Star Trek: Voyager was a fun but insubstantial sendoff to a character that helped kickstart a brand new era of Star Trek.
Now that John de Lancie has appeared as Q on Star Trek: Lower Decks, the door is wide open for him to return again in a more substantial role. Q has been seen as someone who knows of the Cerritos crew. This establishment of a character dynamic, even if it is a minor one, means that Q could play a larger role in a more wild episode. Knowing how referential and reverential the creative talents behind Star Trek: Lower Decks are to the vast lore of the Star Trek universe, it would be great to see them utilize Q as a way to make an even larger bit of commentary about the franchise as a whole. Next week’s episode looks to acknowledge the recent era of Star Trek, so the show is not averse to doing some self-critiquing.
Regardless, it would just be exciting to see John de Lancie return as Q for more than just a cameo. The character is one of the most important figures in all of Star Trek lore, and an avenue like animation seems like one of the best ways to showcase his amazing powers and sense of humor. If Star Trek: Lower Decks is as committed to revitalizing the series as it seems to be, it would be another big check in their win column if they were able to give fans the Q sendoff that he so rightly deserves.